- “The dead need guidance. Filled with grief over their own death, they refuse to face their fate. They yearn to live on, and resent those still alive. You see, they envy the living. And in time, that envy turns to anger, even hate. Should these souls remain in Spira, they become fiends that prey on the living. Sad, isn't it? The sending takes them to the Farplane, where they may rest in peace.”
- —Lulu to Tidus
The Sending (異界送り, Ikai okuri?) is a ceremony performed by summoners in Final Fantasy X that helps guide the spirits of the dead to the Farplane. Sending is performed via a dance ritual. Sending the dead is not mentioned in Final Fantasy X-2, but Final Fantasy X -Will-, an audio drama written by Kazushige Nojima, reveals that sendings are still being performed, now by dedicated people known as senders.
Kagura (神楽, かぐら, god-entertainment?) is the ancient Shinto ritual dance of shamanic origin. The legend goes that the sun goddess Amaterasu became upset at her brother and hid in a cave. Ame-no-uzume began to dance and create a commotion to entice Amaterasu to come out. The kami (gods) tricked Amaterasu by telling her there was a better sun goddess in the heavens and Amaterasu came out and light returned to the universe.
In both ancient Japanese collections, the Nihongi and Kojiki, Ame-no-uzume's dance is described as asobi, which in old Japanese language means a ceremony designed to appease the spirits of the departed, conducted at funeral ceremonies. Therefore, kagura is a rite of tama shizume, of pacifying the spirits of the departed. Spirit pacification and rejuvenation in ancient Japan were usually achieved by songs and dances, also called asobi.
Sending sends the spirits of sentient lifeforms to the Farplane, a place that exists on the inside of the planet of Spira and is the planet's life energy. Sentience of the lifeform is crucial, as pyreflies from plants and fiends do not need a sending.
Unsent spirits eventually become fiends. When someone dies without accepting death, the pyreflies that made up their "soul" may be trapped in the world of living. If the person has a strong enough conviction to remain in the world of the living, their pyreflies may take the form of the deceased's former body and remain in Spira as an unsent. The spirits remaining in the world may begin envying the living, the envy turning to hate and resentment and turning them into fiends.
In rare cases, a sent spirit can leave the Farplane if they still have a strong attachment to the world of the living. The only known occurrence of this is when Jyscal Guado leaves the Farplane to give Yuna a sphere of Seymour. Despite being an unsent, Auron is not sent when Yuna is sending Jyscal Guado, although he is in pain. This implies the sending's full effects only apply when the summoner is focused on sending a certain group.
A spirit doesn't necessarily need to be sent to find its way to the Farplane; in fact, as there are only a limited amount of summoners, and their main job isn't performing the sending, but, rather, completing the pilgrimage, it is likely most people do not need a sending. Sending is required most commonly when a person dies in violent or otherwise unusual circumstances, as their spirit still has "unfinished business" back in the world of the living. Once an individual has accepted death they will return to the Farplane without the need of sending. Even the individuals who go on to become unsent possess this ability.
Sending is likely an ancient ritual used in the ancient Zanarkand as the metropolis was known to use summoners. During the present day Spira summoners perform the sending, but this is not their main purpose.
During Final Fantasy X whose storyline follows summoner Yuna's pilgrimage, Yuna performs the sending on numerous occasions. The first time is in the aftermath of Kilika's destruction by Sin. The bodies are laid in the water in floating coffins and Yuna performs the sending while walking on the water. As she dances the water surges to form a column as the pyreflies are released from the bodies. Later, Yuna performs the sending for those who died in Operation Mi'ihen.
After Seymour Guado is killed Yuna tries to send him, but is interrupted and Seymour's body is taken away by the Guado and he goes on to become an unsent. When escaping from the temple where they had killed Seymour, Yuna's party runs into Sin and is taken to Bikanel. In the commotion, Yuna gets separated from the others. Guado attack the Al Bhed settlement in Bikanel where Yuna's guardians find the missing summoners who the Al Bhed have held captive to stop their pilgrimage. The freed summoners perform the sending over those who died in the Siege of Home before escaping on the Fahrenheit.
Yuna was taken to Bevelle and is to be wed to the unsent Seymour. She goes along with the plan in the hopes of getting a chance to send him, but is unable to do so when her friends are held hostage. When the party finally defeats the unsent Seymour inside Sin he lets Yuna send him, saying he is glad it was Yuna who would perform the deed. At the end of their journey the party defeats Braska's Final Aeon at Dream's End and Yuna sends her aeons and Auron, who enter the Farplane. This is the last time Yuna is known to perform the sending.
After the Eternal Calm begins summoners are said to have become obsolete, with Beclem having derided Yuna as a relic of the past in Final Fantasy X-2. Final Fantasy X -Will- mentions sendings are still being performed, now by people known as senders. When the ghostly dead are being beckoned back to Spira, Kurgum, a sender, wants to send the illusions back to the Farplane, but Yuna stops him, saying they don't have the right to interfere.
|"The Sending" from Final Fantasy X|
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The music that accompanies the sending is a solemn rendition of the "Hymn of the Fayth". It mirrors Japanese ceremonial music, complete with Japanese instruments. Aptly titled "The Sending" (異界送り, Ikai okuri?), it is the third track in the Original Soundtrack and is composed by Masashi Hamauzu.
To The Farplane, identified as sending in Japanese release, is Yuna's EX Burst in which she summons forth her aeons to damage her foe. The player needs to press the correct buttons to successfully chain attack.
Her pose from the promotional poster is included in the EX Burst's ending and pyreflies are presented during its performance.
Scenes from the sending in Kilika appear in Event Music Sequence for Final Fantasy X series.
Sending appears as Yuna (1st ver.)'s Limit Break ability. Its damage relies on Yuna's Magic and Spirit.
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A trading card depicting Yuna performing the sending appears in the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game.